What effect do OFSTED have on the way schools are run?

August 3, 2013

One comment

  1. Coming from a family in which, with the exception of my father, who like me was an engineer, all are or were teachers I have witnessed the rise and rise of “inspectors” referred to today, of course, as Ofsted. This increasingly invasive supervision appears to have achieved little in the way of progress but seem to have been the cause of increasing anxiety amongst many teachers, not least with my family .
    There have been always been inspectors, there was the railways inspectorate, an organization with an impeccable history and there was Gogol’s fictional “The Government Inspector” but the perceived need for inspections and monitoring really seemed to take off in the 80s.
    In my old job as an engineering manager inspections were virtually non existent until the 80s when something called audits turned up under the guise of “Quality”. A cohort of “auditors” were appointed with many having only a very sketchy idea of the company’s business and far less of engineering procedures. They seemed to have a lavish budget with their cars being fitted with telephones in an age when mobile ‘phones were a rarity. When they turned up to audit my section they spent a day going through records, processes and procedures. When they stumbled upon a stock of spares for some obsolescent equipment we maintained they were barely able to conceal their glee. “Oh dear you have squirrel stocks, are you not aware that all stocks are forbidden and you must maintain on a just in time basis?” “Er yes but this is very old plant, these spares are no longer manufactured, we would have to have new parts made at great expense if we didn’t hold these stocks”. their response was that we will have to report that this it is less than satisfactory.
    When the report turned up it transpired that they had inspected the section’s telephone records and had found that our international call rate compared unfavourably. Which wasn’t surprising because, unlike the others, we were working with suppliers on the continent Amongst their recommendations was to bar our international calls and for our team to request a temporary connection when the need arose. This led indirectly to my resignation.
    My views on auditors, Ofsted etc,. Mostly staffed by people who feel the need to be critical no matter what they turn up. Unless they appear to be changing things then there is clearly no need for them. They are a self perpetuating bunch who, in my experience, have often failed at the job they are offering their critique on.

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